A Basic Lesson in Underground Water

Here at Tacoma Pump and Drilling, we are talking in detail about wells and underground water all the time. Because of this, we frequently get asked questions such as what exactly groundwater is? Today, the answer to that question is here for you guys. We want to teach you guys where well water comes from, why it is essential, and how we use it! 

What is groundwater?

Although we immediately think of oceans and streams when we will mention water sources, these bodies of water are only “surface” water sources. They are excellent resources, but not the ones we are discussing today.

Another type of water is found below the surface of the water. This is known as groundwater;  we use more commonly than you might think!

Far below the surface of the earth is what we call the water table. The water table is where you first meet underground water. Below that point, the water has completely soaked all of the sediment and soil. Besides the ocean and other surface water sources, this is how the earth stores water for us!

Large bodies of underground water are called aquifers, and there are several in the United States alone! Since water can stay in aquifers for a very long time, it is common for aquifers to be quite large. 

Any water below the water table is considered groundwater, and this is where we can draw wells from. How neat, right!

Where does groundwater come from?

Groundwater can be replenished in many different ways! You probably already know how the water cycle goes, but if you don’t, here is a refresher:

water cycle

Water can start at any point in the water cycle, but let’s start with a raindrop. The rain falls on all parts of the earth. Some of the rainwater flows into the ocean or a stream, and some of it is sucked up by the plants. As the temperature varies, some of water may get evaporated back into the clouds to form more precipitation. Lastly, some of the rainwater will soak into the earth and make its way down to an aquifer! Thus, every time it rains, the earth replenishes its groundwater supply on its own!

Water can reach the water table through streams and other bodies of water by seeping into the ground and traveling through the sediment. As long as water can make it into the soil, some of it will get to the water table and into the groundwater supply!

How do we use groundwater?

If we have so much surface water through the ocean and streams and rivers, why do we need groundwater? We get asked this question pretty often, and you might be surprised at all of the ways groundwater benefits us!

One of the most influential ways groundwater is hugely beneficial to the human race is that its supply of water is independent of coasts or banks. It is easy to underappreciate something when you have an abundance of it, but what happens when you don’t have enough? Groundwater supplied through aquifers is available even when you are entirely landlocked with no rivers or streams around you!

Underground water is also a huge benefit and incredibly useful for farmers, especially since rain can be unreliable. It takes a lot of water consistently to keep producing the food we eat. We also use it residentially to fill our wells that supply water to our houses! Groundwater is a remarkable asset of living on an incredible planet!

Lastly, sometimes the surface of the earth will dip below the water table. This creates a hole that the water can fill. Groundwater can also break through the surface in some places; this is called a spring. Springs are fantastic and so much fun to visit! There are a few right here in Washington State! Here are a few that are worth a visit.

drinking water

Wrapping it up…

Springs and groundwater are so fantastic to get to see and learn about. They are incredibly beneficial to the lives we live and to the planet we get to enjoy. We love digging wells and getting people connected to the earth. We also love teaching about groundwater and helping people appreciate the world we love.

Check out this video we came across that does an excellent job explaining the water cycle and a lot more detail about groundwater. If you are a visual learner or you have kiddos you want to teach, this video is for you!

Hopefully, this article has been helpful. We love to teach people about the environment around them and all the ways we use our resources to our benefit! If you want to reach out for more information about our wells and commercial services, please feel free to drop us a line anytime!